Know the Facts About the Measles

The measles virus has received a great deal of attention recently in New York City due to an infected tourist potentially exposing many residents in the five boroughs.

As the closest hospital to John F. Kennedy International Airport, where millions of foreign travelers fly in and out of each year and because we serve one the most ethnically diverse populations in the nation, Jamaica Hospital wants to provide our community with some very important information about the measles virus.

While vaccination programs have largely eliminated the measles in the United States, it is still common in other parts of the world with over 90,000 reported deaths attributed to the disease worldwide each year according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  In fact, most U.S. cases of the measles result from an unvaccinated international traveler exposing U.S. residents to the virus.

The measles virus is highly contagious and is spread through the air when an infected person sneezes or coughs.  Fever is typically the first symptom, followed by cough, runny nose and red eyes. Soon after, those infected will develop a rash of tiny red spots. The rash starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body. Symptoms usually present ten to 14 days after exposure. Those with the disease can develop even more serious complications, and it is especially dangerous for young children.

The best way to prevent becoming infected is to get the MMR vaccine, which prevents against measles, mumps and rubella. The CDC recommends children receive two doses, the first between 12 to 15 months of age, and the second at four to six years old. Teens and adults should also be up-to-date with their MMR vaccination.

The MMR vaccine is safe and highly effective. The recommended two doses have proven to be 97% effective in preventing the measles virus.  While the MMR vaccine is recommended for everyone, it is especially important for those individuals who travel internationally or are exposed to travelers from foreign countries .

If you are experiencing symptoms consistent with the measles, seek medical attention immediately, but call your doctor or local hospital before arrival to prevent infecting others.

To learn more about the MMR vaccine, or to schedule an appointment to become vaccinated at Jamaica Hospital’s Ambulatory Care Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

January is Birth Defects Prevention Month

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month Join us in the nationwide effort to raise awareness of birth defects, their causes, and their impact.

This year, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center is joining the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their campaign to raise awareness among women and their families on actions they can take to increase their chances of having a healthy baby.

While not all birth defects are preventable, there are specific steps women can take to reduce the likelihood of certain types of birth defects. In addition to managing existing health conditions, adopting healthy lifestyle choices, and eliminating dangerous behaviors before and during pregnancy, one of the most important steps a woman can take to minimize her risk of having a baby born with a birth defect is to receive early and regular prenatal care.

When you receive prenatal care, your doctor will assess your health, take a family history, and discuss any lifestyle issues that may affect your pregnancy. Your doctor can also diagnose underlying health disorders that may impact your health or the development of your unborn child and order tests to detect any potential issues. Your doctor will also advise you against potential hazards that can be harmful to your baby, such as taking certain medications.

Understanding the importance of prenatal care and its role on healthy outcomes, Jamaica Hospital now offers an innovative approach for expectant moms. The hospital’s CenteringPregnancy program invites women with similar due dates to share their experiences in a friendly, group dynamic, facilitated by doctors, nurses and midwives. Through this unique model of care, women have an opportunity to share their experiences, receive support, and empower one another, while learning how to maintain healthy pregnancies.

Jamaica Hospital hopes that by offering a group prenatal care model to our patients, they will be motivated to receive the appropriate level of care for their unborn babies, which will lead to better outcomes.

To learn more about the Centering Pregnancy program at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-291-3276.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Are We Over-Using Antibiotics?

You have all the symptoms: fever, cough, headache, and fatigue and body pain. You’re sick! You visit your doctor looking for antibiotics to get you better quickly, but is this always the best course of treatment?

Drug ampules prescription for treatment medication. Heap of red orange white round capsule in stick pills with medicine antibiotic in packages. Pharmacy theme, Pharmaceutical medicament for health

Doctors at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center are taking a long, hard look at how patients are being treated and what they are finding is that prescribing antibiotics is sometimes not the best course of action. “For a number of reasons, physicians throughout the healthcare industry prescribe antibiotics when they are not necessary” states Dr. Luigi Tullo, Family Medicine Physician at Jamaica Hospital. Dr. Tullo added “Some of the factors are physician driven and some are patient driven, but regardless of the reason, inappropriately prescribing antibiotics can have long-term health effects on our community”.

Over-prescribing antibiotics can eventually lead to the drugs becoming less effective when they are really needed. Another cause for concern is the evolution of bacteria. When exposed to the same antibiotic repeatedly, the bacteria will change its composition and become resistant to the very medications that are intended to kill. MRSA and C. difficle are two examples of drug-resistant bugs, but they are not the only ones. This growing problem in the medical community has prompted Dr. Tullo and his colleagues to develop an Antibiotic Stewardship Program to educate both the practitioner and the patient about when antibiotics are necessary and when they are not.

To help the doctor, Jamaica Hospital has implemented multiple tools into its electronic medical records system. These tools require the doctor to extensive documentation before prescribing antibiotics to their patients. Sometimes however, even against the doctor’s best judgment, a patient may insist on receiving a prescription of antibiotics. Dr. Tullo explains, “A culture has been created that implies if a doctor doesn’t provide a prescription after examining you, then he or she isn’t taking care of you. Patients think that antibiotics are some sort of magic wand, when in fact they are not.”

To change this perception, Jamaica Hospital, working together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is embarking on an educational campaign to help explain that antibiotics are appropriate for bacterial infections, but not for a virus. These colorful, multi-lingual posters created by the CDC will hang in all Jamaica Hospital out-patient clinics and offer guidance and education to patients.

In addition to the posters and other educational handouts, Dr. Tullo believes an emphasis must be placed on how doctors explain the patient’s condition to them. According to Dr. Tullo, “if it is explained that not needing antibiotics may be a good thing, when they have a virus, the message will be better received.”

Jamaica Hospital continues to strive to do the best for their patients and hopes that through this effort, they can improve the long-term health of the community.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

When Are Antibiotics Appropriate?

You have all the symptoms: fever, cough, headache, and fatigue and body pain. You’re sick!! You visit your doctor looking for antibiotics to get you better quick, but is this always the best course of treatment?

Young business woman trying to eat blister of pills

Doctors at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center are taking a long, hard look at how patients are being treated and what they are finding is that prescribing antibiotics is sometimes not the best course of action. “For a number of reasons, physicians throughout the healthcare industry prescribe antibiotics when they are not necessary” states Dr. Luigi Tullo, Family Medicine Physician at Jamaica Hospital. Dr. Tullo added “Some of the factors are physician driven and some are patient driven, but regardless of the reason, inappropriately prescribing antibiotics can have long-term health effects on our community”.

Over-prescribing antibiotics can eventually lead to the drugs becoming less effective when they are really needed. Another cause for concern is the evolution of bacteria. When exposed to the same antibiotic repeatedly, the bacteria will change its composition and become resistant to the very medications that are intended to kill. MRSA and C. difficle are two examples of drug-resistant bugs, but they are not the only ones. This growing problem in the medical community has prompted Dr. Tullo and his colleagues to develop an Antibiotic Stewardship Program to educate both the practitioner and the patient about when antibiotics are necessary and when they are not.

To help the doctor, Jamaica Hospital has implemented multiple tools into its electronic medical records system. These tools require the doctor to provide further documentation before prescribing antibiotics to their patients. Sometimes however, even against the doctor’s best judgment, a patient may insist on receiving a prescription of antibiotics. Dr. Tullo explains, “A culture has been created that implies if a doctor doesn’t provide a prescription after examining you, then he or she isn’t taking care of you. Patients think that antibiotics are some sort of magic wand, when in fact they are not.”

To better change this perception, Jamaica Hospital, working together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is embarking on an educational campaign to help explain that antibiotics are appropriate for bacterial infections, but not for a virus. These colorful, multi-lingual posters created by the CDC will hang in all Jamaica Hospital out-patient clinics and offer guidance and education to patients.

In addition to the posters and other educational handouts, Dr. Tullo believes an emphasis must be placed on how doctors explain the patient’s condition to them. According to Dr. Tullo, “if it is explained that not needing antibiotics is a good thing, since they have a virus, the message will be better received.”

Jamaica Hospital continues to strive to do the best for their patients and hopes that through this effort, they can improve the long-term health of the community.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.